The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to see that increasing numbers of Americans would concur with the motto coined by FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor:
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.
According to a new poll by Gallup, belief in the supernatural is at an all-time low. In a world riven by religious schisms over the unprovable, the major findings are worth celebrating. Gallup compares responses in 2001 to those today:
- God belief has declined from 90 percent to 74 percent (12 percent don’t believe, 14 percent aren’t sure).
- Belief in the devil has dropped from 70 percent to 58 percent.
- Belief in angels has decreased from 79 percent to 69 percent.
- Belief in heaven has gone from 83 percent to 67 percent.
- Belief in hell has declined from 71 percent to 59 percent.
“Like Ron Reagan, increasing numbers of Americans aren’t afraid of burning hell,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “It’s cause to celebrate that belief in hell is declining. It should be socially unacceptable to believe someone deserves to be tortured for an eternity for not being the ‘right kind’ of Christian.”
Only slightly more than half, 51 percent of Americans, believe in all five supernatural entities: God, devils, angels, heaven and hell.
As for the “Nones,” Gallup noted: “In contrast, no more than 25 percent of Americans without any religious affiliation believe in any of the spiritual concepts, and they are more likely to express nonbelief rather than uncertainty.”
Gallup found that women are more likely than men to believe in all five spiritual concepts — except for the devil, which 58 percent of both groups accept. Adults without college degrees are more likely than college grads to believe in these supernatural concepts, as are Americans with household incomes under $40,000. However, Gallup points out that majorities in low and higher-income groups accept such spiritual claims.
Likewise, those who are older are more apt to be believers. Between 78 percent and 87 percent of Republicans believe in all five entities, compared to 51 to 68 percent of independents. From 56 to 66 percent of Democrats believe in God, angels and heaven, while less than half believe in hell and the devil.
Not surprisingly, majorities of those who attend religious services at least monthly express belief in the five religious notions. Most of those who seldom or never attend church express belief in a god and angels, but less than half of them believe in heaven, hell and the devil.
Somewhat surprisingly, Protestants are more likely than Catholics to believe in each of the five supernatural entities.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.